A Rose by Another Name
by Revilo P. Oliver
LAST APRIL, National Review carried a significant article. Professor William R. Hawkins, a professional economist, in “Neomercantilism: Is there a Case for Tariffs?” took his departure from the fact that America’s industrial potential has been partly destroyed already by the internationalist gang and will soon be completely lost. Without stressing the connection, he notes that the obvious result will make the United States incapable of defending itself against any enemy. He forbore to remark that that is the obvious goal of the cosmopolitan gangsters. He also paid his respect to the “libertarians,” those nice boys who so enjoy living in a dream world of romantic fantasies derived from Rousseau and talk about what ought to be true, if the world is what they want it to be, peopled with jolly good fellows, who will live happily in a jolly anarchy.
He enforces his argument for economic control exerted by a government that would have regard for the interests of the American people by pointing out that the Spanish Empire destroyed itself in the seventeenth century by precisely the policies that are touted as “progressive” today. (He could have added that the first Professorship of Social Science in the whole world was founded in 1625 by King Philip IV as part of the Estudios de Madrid, and that Spain was full of theorists (arbitristas), who, with three or four exceptions, were no more intelligent than the “Liberal Intellectuals” who afflict us today.)
What he proposes for such a government (assuming we could have one) is what he calls “Neomercantilism,” a policy designed to restore, by governmental action, American industry, instead of continuing to dismantle it. “The purpose of a mercantile strategy,” he says, “is to determine the core economic needs of the nation, then create an environment in which entrepreneurs can flourish while fulfilling those needs.” And he elaborates that policy in considerable detail.
If you read his article, you will look to the essentials and feel that you have heard all this before. And then you will remember why it is all so familiar — but please be kind and don’t tell anyone. I don’t know whether you would embarrass Professor Hawkins, but you would mortify the editors of National Review. They might march through the streets of New Jerusalem-on-the-Hudson, stripped to the waist and, like feeble-minded Spaniards in the seventeenth century, beating their bloody backs with leaded whips to expiate their sins and wailing for Jesus to forgive them. Or they might, in despair, rush from their editorial citadel on Thirty-Fifth Street and drown themselves in the East River. I just do not know what those pontiffs of “conservatism” would do, if they ever discovered that “Neomercantilism” is precisely the economic policy by which Adolf Hitler restored the prosperity, power, and self-respect of Germany, to the wonder of the world and the terror of our eternal enemies.
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Source: Liberty Bell magazine, December 1985